Taking a class online this semester? Online learning can be a convenient way to earn course credit, but it also has unique challenges you need to be prepared to handle. Set yourself up for success by strategically planning how you will accomplish your goals.
Some tips to get you started:
- To be successful in an online class, you need to be self-directed. With face-to-face classes, you meet at the same times every week, but online classes typically have more work that is done on your own time. It's a good idea to set aside specific times during the week when you will work on your online coursework, to ensure that you stay on track and don't end up overwhelmed at the last minute.
- Whether you use an online calendar, your smartphone, or a paper-and-pencil planner, be sure to set yourself reminders for important deadlines. Don't only include test dates and final deadlines for papers or projects. Plan out what you need to do to accomplish major assignments and determine when you need to finish each step in the process to stay on target. Remember to leave time to contact your professor or work with a tutor if you get stuck.
- Remember to keep copies of all correspondence with your professor and back up all of your work.
- Think about your study space and the distractions you are likely to face. If you're studying at home, find a space that's quiet and comfortable (but not so comfortable that you're going to fall asleep!). If you're in a public space and have trouble ignoring conversations going on around you, consider trying noise-canceling headphones. If you work better with background noise, stick to whatever won't draw your attention away from the task at hand. Think soft, non-distracting music, white noise, etc.
- Be sure to set your phone to “do not disturb” and refrain from checking social media or browsing online until you're finished studying or you're taking a break. Frequent interruptions (even quick ones) will cause you to waste a lot of time refocusing and catching up rather than making progress.
- Don't go it alone. Get help with your research and writing. Check out the resources below, and consider working with a tutor, in addition to consulting your professor for assistance:
Contact Tutoring Services for help with a range of content areas students commonly find challenging: